The matchbox challenge

When the school set a matchbox challenge as a fundraiser, I thought that sounded interesting. You needed to fit as many different items in a matchbox as you could. Erm – a match (of course), a hair grip, a safety pin, a button, a coin, a bead… And then I got stuck. What else could fit in a matchbox? (The note accompanying the box helpfully reminded kids not to include bogies or toenail clippings!) You had to fill in your box, then fill in a sheet to say what was in there. There was 25 spaces on the sheet. We wouldn’t need all of those!

But I’d reckoned without our secret weapon. My dad. This is EXACTLY the sort of challenge my dad likes. Within five minutes of getting the matchbox to my parents’ house, it contained 38 items – mainly herbs, spices, petals and leaves of different plants. And the matchbox was still virtually empty.

Spurred on by my dad’s success, the boys, my daughter and I quickly got the figure up to 55 and the matchbox was STILL virtually empty. I was slightly concerned about whether things like cocoa powder, the Coco Pop and the Rice Krispie would survive. I wondered if the box needed reorganising.

‘I think we can get it up to 120!’ said my eldest.

120?! Was he mad?!

I tweeted about the matchbox and Abstract Lucas told me her daughter had won a competition with 72 and did we need any ideas? Her ideas were duly taken on board by me – the least imaginative member of the team – and I felt we were on course to smash 72.

My sister came up with a few ideas, I came up with a few more, my parents came up with a few more… We were edging ever closer to 100. Maybe 120 wasn’t impossible?

We were now determined to win. Sorry, my daughter was determined to win, I meant. So we added the butterfly clip from an earring, a googly eye, a piece of bubble wrap, a piece of tinsel, a cotton bud, an old SIM card, a piece of K’Nex… Worried about the Coco Pop and Rice Krispie at the bottom of the box, I decided to add new ones to the top of the box.

I think my husband made one suggestion, but it was a good one – a photo. The very last thing we put in, when we’d exhausted everything else and the box was getting very full, was a photo of my daughter, so it was the first thing they’d see when they opened it.

And it was item number 120! My son was right, we made it!

Matchbox, Matchbox challenge, Daughter, School, How many things can you fit in a matchbox

Surely nobody could beat that? My daughter was under strict instructions not to tell people how much she’d put in her box or what she’d put in it, beyond the really obvious things. She handed it in pretty late, so nobody could nick her ideas.

And then we waited two whole weeks for the results. It was announced in assembly and my daughter won a £10 voucher. She was very pleased – and so was the rest of the team.

The matchbox made me proud, but what made me most proud?

My daughter decided to use her voucher to buy a present for Grandpa. Without him, she would never have won. What a lovely girl!


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I remember doing this challenge when I was a kid – delighted it still happens!! And wow – 120 is brilliant – fantastic family effort! Xx

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    • Thanks very much, I never would have believed we could get up to that sort of number! I’d never heard of a matchbox challenge before, but we all really enjoyed it. The pressure will be on if they do it again next year! x

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    • Thanks very much! It was really good fun and we would never have got anywhere near 120 without my dad!

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  2. I have just spoken to my husband about this and he did it at school, he got around 50 (poor effort lol). I am so going to give this challenge for the kids to do over the summer, winner gets £10 cash from me. That should keep them quiet hopefully. Aw how lovely and thoughtful of your daughter to spend the voucher on her Grandpa. No wonder you were so proud x

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    • If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said 50 sounds like a very good effort! Great idea to give it a go with the kids, hope it keeps them out of mischief for a while! x

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  3. Wow, 120??? Amazing. I love that your daughter used the voucher for her grandad.

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    • Thanks very much. I was so proud of her for thinking of her Grandpa 🙂

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  4. Never heard of this before but sounds like a great idea for summer holidays. Reminds me of how many people Blue Peter got into a mini. Or was it a phone box? (What’s a phone box I hear my son say). Well done your Dad and daughter. Jo x

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    • Thanks very much. It kept everyone so busy. I was in awe of what they managed!

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  5. Oh that is such a lovely story indeed. Well done to the whole family for coming up with all those ideas.

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    • Thanks very much. I was in awe of what they cam up with!

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  6. That is such a great idea. I remember doing this as a child. Match Boxes were much more available then. Well done and what a great story. Such a fab family idea. x

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    • Thanks very much! I’d never heard of these challenges before, but it’s a really good idea 🙂 x

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  7. Ooh what a fun challenge for the whole family to get involved in. And so sweet of your daughter to buy a present for her granddad to say thanks for helping!

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    • Thanks very much. I was so pleased with her for doing that! It was all her own idea 🙂 x

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  8. What a challenge and wow 120 items, I doubt I would have got past ten! I love that your daughter used her prize to get her Grandpa a gift too. I wonder if we will ever be asked to do this.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

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